An open day is the perfect opportunity to proudly showcase your school to prospective parents and pupils. However with the current COVID-19 crisis, it’s unclear as to when open days will become possible again. So, schools are tackling this problem by embracing virtual open days.

While digital open days have been around for a while, particularly favoured by universities, the current challenge schools face is how to actually reach prospective parents and students. In this blog we will explain how to use Facebook to drum up interest for your virtual open day and get real leads.

What is a paid Facebook ad?

According to Facebook, “You can create targeted ads to reach different audiences and meet your marketing goals.” Facebook Paid Ads are a simple and effective strategy for your school to reach the kind of prospective parents you really want. 

The more niche an audience you can target, the better results you can achieve. Facebook targeting allows you to specify your audience’s interests, age, gender, age of child, location, employment status, marital status and more. Once your campaign is set up, you can use the ads to collect data that will help you improve the ads and in turn, increase their effectiveness.

How to build an effective Facebook ad

When you’re building your ad, there are a few important factors to consider:

1.1 Create an audience

Deciding which demographics to target is one of the most important parts of optimising your ad. For some schools, a broad target audience is more effective. For example, if you’re a boarding school, you may want to target families from all across the country, or even the world, as your boarding facilities can accommodate them. 

However if you’re a day school, it would be much more effective to target those who live within a five to ten mile radius of your school. You can even target multiple specific postcodes or areas as shown above.

1.2 Install a Pixel

A Facebook generated pixel is a piece of code that can be installed onto your website or landing page to track any visitors that come to your page. From this you will be able to retarget those visitors with Facebook and Instagram ads and collect vital data to help you analyse and optimise your campaigns.

1.3 Create a Lookalike Audience

You can also create a ‘lookalike audience’ which will allow you to find people who are similar in interest, demographic and behaviour to those that have already visited your website.

 

 

2. Craft a clear message

Your Facebook Ad has limited space, so make sure your messaging aligns with your marketing goal and influences action. Think about what will draw people in to attend your virtual open day. Are you showcasing a virtual tour of your school? Are you one of the leading schools in the area? Will you have the headmaster and other important speakers at your virtual open day? Make your message relevant to your audience and give it a call to action.

Don’t forget to add an image and/or video, too. Ads with video are much more likely to attract attention than those without. Finally, don’t forget to make the time and date of your virtual open day clear on your ad. Otherwise, how will people show up?

3. Create multiple ad sets

When crafting your campaign you should try to create multiple ads for A/B testing. Creating more than one ad gives you multiple sets of analytics so you can determine which ads are performing the best. If your ads are working well, you know what to spend the majority of your budget on.

However, it’s still important to switch them up every so often so the message doesn’t stagnate. People get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, so keep it fresh. If your ads aren’t working, try adjusting the imagery, copy or call to action.

 

Need help setting your Virtual Open Day campaign on Facebook? Get in touch.

A final word

Facebook Ads are a great way to get your school in front of prospective parents and students, and Facebook has some great resources to help you get started.

Although Facebook advertising is extremely important, building and managing ad campaigns can be extremely time consuming and overwhelming. If you need help with your Facebook campaigns, book a discovery call with one of our experts.

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